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Syllable-Boundary Phenomena in Korean Young-Key Kim-Renaud 1. Introduction Even a linguistically naive speaker can identify how many syllables there are in a given string, but linguists have not succeeded in determining a simple phonetic correlate that will identify a syllable and boundaries between syllables. It is probably for this reason that the syllable has often been considered quite unimportant, especially by such early generative phonologists as Chomsky and Halle (1968), and thought as playing no role at the more abstract levels of phonology. However, the reality and necessity of the syllable as an operational unit in phonology have been advanced recently by other linguists, e.g., Pulgram (1970), McCawley (1968), Hoard (1971), Vennemann (1972), Hooper (1972), Lehiste (1970), K. O. Kim and Shibatani (1974), who take the view that the phonological description of certain languages often could achieve generality, naturalness, and explanatory adequacy only if stated in terms of syllables. One new and important aspect of syllabification that has been proposed recently is that it is done not only on the phonetic basis but also with reference to different grammatical boundaries. The purpose of this paper is to study some of the long-standing problems in Korean phonology, such as the neutralization of obstruents, h becoming a dental stop, postobstruent fortition, and consonant cluster simplification, and to show that adopting the notion of syllable and syllable boundary facilitates our understanding of an important portion of the Korean phonological component. It is also claimed here that the seemingly heterogeneous phonological alternations are due to a very 243 244YOUNG-KEY KIM-RENAUD regular and prevalent metaforce that exists in the language, i.e., the unreleasing of the syllable coda.1 This paper is written within the framework ofgenerative phonology, with some recent modifications by various linguists. It is assumed that linearly ordered phonological transformations associate the surface syntactic structure of an utterance with its phonetic representations. Underlying forms are viewed as fully specified (McCawley 1974:85) and minimally abstract (Kiparsky 1968). A major concern of this work is to provide phonetic and other motivation for the phonological processes that are posited in order to ensure that the solution proposed be as natural as possible (Stampe 1972). The dialect analyzed is that of the Seoul area, generally referred to as "standard. " The variant forms in this dialect as well as other dialectal forms are discussed wherever relevant, not only for descriptive accuracy but also for their significance as evidence for possible on-going change. Assumptions underlying syllabification taken in this study are as those in Kim-Renaud 1974, Appendix A.2. In brief, phrase boundary (#) and compound boundary (f) are also syllable boundaries (S) (Syntactic Syllabification) ; $ is inserted after y in case of a morpheme iy or i:y (Lexical Syllabification) ; $ is inserted so that the syllable-initial position takes the maximum number of segments possible, i.e., before a consonant followed by a vowel with a glide optionally intervening. If there is no consonant but only a glide between the vowels, $ is inserted before the glide. $ falls between two consecutive vowels otherwise (Phonetic Syllabification ); syntactic and lexical syllabifications must precede phonetic syllabification ; only phonetic syllabification applies in surface syllabification (resyllabification). 2. Obstruent Neutralization On the phonetic level, Korean allows only a limited number of consonants in syllable-final position, i.e., [p=, t=, k=, 1, m, ?, ?], although other consonants may occur in the same position at nonsuperficial levels. What we note here particularly is the fact that there are no aspirated or fortis stops in this position. Now observe the following examples:2 1.This article is drawn from my doctoral dissertation (Kim-Renaud, 1974). I thank all my friends and teachers for their help and guidance in pursuing my studies, especially Professor Irwin Howard, Chin-Wu Kim, Greg Lee, and Ho-min Sohn. 2.Throughout this study () shows the orthographic representation, / / the underlying representation, and [ ] the surface representation. A hyphen (-) is used where the specific nature of a boundary is irrelevant. An unattested form is marked by *. Coexisting forms are connected by ~. C represents a consonant, V a vowel, C= an unreleased stop, C a fortis consonant and Ch a strongly aspirated one. For typographical convenience c is...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1529
Print ISSN
0145-840X
Pages
pp. 243-273
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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